Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where history makes your pillow


One Autumn

is pretty much indistinguishable from another.
You might arrive home from a long day in the
sky to see the sun slip through a slot that anchors
off the western end of a landmass you know too
little about. You might be traveling to Nürnberg
eight years ago, write a poem that never sees the
daylight, something weepheavy and rainbooted
about sleeping where history makes your pillow.

This one splits a dawn pepper tree at the junction
between beauty and a perfect fluke of precision.
A shallow blade of solaxial realignment instills.
Shadows lengthen and you’re sixty-feet tall at
the start of this season, well on your way toward
Sphinxworn riddles you will leave unanswered.
On the ground, a mourning dove haunches sejant,
stoic and still as six-thousand year old limestone.


Something in you deifies her and you think perhaps
you will bring her oxen and washed vegetables, set
before her all the promises of this and the next world.
But the sky reclaims her and she is flown with your
untendered offering as two oaks exhale imperceptibly.
In the distance, an ocean drowns a thousand Mojaves.
A thousand more Saharas lie beneath those. As in love,
there is yet time for completion and commencement.

Joseph Gallo
September 23, 2010


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The small scrapes we survive


Autumn Now

There is time in the wind. The passing of it; the gathering.
Limbs bend and creak and the trees do so as well. A dove
coos alone on a branch, the whole sea torn blue behind her.

Whitecaps and clouds use the sky as a mirror. Water and
salt do what they’ve always done. Before gods were given
life; before caves held their pigmented animal stories.

I’m a little ahead of myself, but the season has already
arrived. Stand up right now and look for yourself. The
light has shifted and the shadows retooled. This will go

on toward winter this way; longer, more angled, shorter,
more carved into the small scrapes we survive to see it
unfold. Listen and you may sense something outside your

senses. Chant and the sun may turn toward you to seize
an eye, burn its name into your skin as a way to remember.
It is autumn now and that is simply how things are.

Joseph Gallo
September 8, 2010


A pooling darkness, a small pebble



So we go along for some years and a few
more after that and sometimes the shade
begins to drop down and the light in the room
dims and dims some more as shapes take on
others while others lose cohesion to recombine
with a pooling darkness, and a small pebble
forms in the shoe of your soul and grides and
rubs raw until it pokes through to tear leather
built up over years of careful cobbling, some
tender, some knurled in anger, and the dimming,
the dimming continues as your feet hurt and the
room goes dark and no one can see in and you
can’t see out because the shade has welded shut
and the cord has slipped the ring and nothing will
raise it again, not Jesus, not Dos Equis, not Slap
Chop, so you sit with it until you can’t sit with it
any longer and no one cares that can change it
because there’s a certain comfort seasoned in all
of this, the cussing, the short patience, the contempt
for how things ever got to this state of brokenness,
and life keeps pressing the buzzer and kicking at
the door and you’d give it all if it would just go
away and suddenly the shade coils up, snaps
open, and the whole thing starts all over again.

Joseph Gallo
August 7, 2010


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Light but not all of it


Room At Last
For J.D. Salinger

You may sit smiling wanly at the edge of a bed
among grey-white cloudskins that gather there,
the walls nearly as barren of artifice as the motives
of a mirror, and as you sit you may know that no
one may ever see you in this moment until they
might happen to come across evidence of it, some
lines on paper, the butt of a cigarette left for a maid
that will never come to part half-opened curtains
that let in the light but not all of it, just enough to
preserve what shadows you have befriended, better
company kept against all who might have blamed
you dry of this precious contrast for only time is
allowed to move unparsed here, to riffle through
drawers, read over your shoulder, soften the click-
clack of a black typewriter, making sure the bolt
is turned and some veneer of mattering maintained.

Joseph Gallo
August 9, 2010